March 17, 2017

Must-Read Tips for a Successful Cloud ERP Implementation

By Jeff Hiddemen

and Robert Harrison

Must-Read Tips for a Successful Cloud ERP ImplementationPart 2: The Top Three Implementation Considerations

Cloud ERP implementation is one of the most challenging projects an organization can face. Your new ERP will impact nearly every aspect of your business and involves a heavy investment of human and capital resources. In many cases, these projects also receive an extra level of attention from the executive team. However, with the right planning, you can effectively drive your ERP project toward success.

In Part 1 of our Cloud ERP Implementation series, we discussed the top three pre-implementation engagement considerations that must be evaluated prior to any new engagement. Decisions made prior to a project kicking off can be just as important as the decisions that are made throughout the course of the project, as those choices set the foundation for the rest of the engagement.

Let’s take a look at the three key steps your business can take to help ensure a successful ERP implementation.

  1. Define all key business requirements

    The requirement gathering process is the first stage of the project and the most important activity of your ERP implementation. This process sets the foundation from which all application design and configuration strategies are derived, and will impact your project scope, timelines, plan and resource needs. While it can seem expensive and time-intensive, failures here can have major timeline and financial implications. Therefore, the time you invest during this phase is sure to pay dividends during the later stages of your implementation.

    Here are few tips to ensure success during your requirements gathering process:

    Identify your specific business needs

    • Begin by conducting a deep dive into your business needs, rules and logic that must be configured in your new software application to ensure your future-state platform supports the business.
    • Next, establish a comprehensive and consistent understanding of how the application should handle standard business process flows and unique use cases.

    Don’t cut corners

    • Avoid the temptation of cutting corners during this important process. Any perceived cost savings achieved by short-cutting the business requirements phase is certain to be eclipsed by the cost of rework and reconfiguration in later phases.

    Define your “real” requirements

    • Use a system-agnostic approach, driven by your core operational needs when defining your requirements. Make sure your requirements drive the solution, not the other way around.
    • Identify and involve a representative set of all internal and external stakeholders. Conduct interviews, white board sessions and use questionnaires to solicit input from the team.

     Document your requirements

    • Create a business requirement document to clearly define a comprehensive list of real business needs. This document will help drive the initial implementation and can be leveraged down the road when or if additional application changes are needed, different resources are engaged, or there is company turnover.
  2. Carefully manage changes in project scope

    During the course of your implementation, the project scope may need to be adjusted. This can occur due to unidentified business requirements during the sales process, expansion of a product line, acquisition of a new business or many other reasons. Thus, it is imperative to establish a well-defined strategy to manage changes in scope.

    Timeline, quality and budget are the three most common factors to consider when evaluating changes in scope (known as the Project Management Triangle). While all three may be important, only two can be achieved at any one time. You must make the trade-off that works best for your project objectives and budget.

    Cloud ERP Implementation

  3. Leverage a phased implementation approach

    If you have many goals and areas that need improvement and/or your ERP implementation is large enough that it may take six months or more, you may need to take a phased approach to your implementation.

    Key benefits of using a phased implementation approach:

    • Value-added functionality and automation can be delivered quickly to address and solve your biggest pain points. Prioritize the biggest areas of need and deliver that functionality to your company now.
    • Get power users and early adopters to embrace the application before others, allowing them to serve as product champions to future users. Having a core group of users that can assist other coworkers significantly enhances the chances that the application and new business processes will be embraced.
    • After gaining working knowledge of the new application, you will have a better understanding of how you want future development and processes to be designed. This could adjust how you communicate business needs and ensure future design decisions are made from a place of practice, not theory.

Bringing It All Together

Undergoing a Cloud ERP initiative can be challenging. By incorporating these three key steps into your ERP implementation plan and the ones we outlined in Part 1 of the series, you will have the essential tools needed for a successful implementation. In addition, an experienced ERP consultant can help spearhead a successful ERP implementation. Having someone with industry experience involved throughout the process, will help ensure that your project stays on track and that you get the most from your ERP software.

Need ERP consulting to drive a successful ERP implementation?

A Texas-based leader in delivering and integrating ERP solutions including NetSuite, Bridgepoint Consulting has a large team of consultants who are here to help you make the most of your implementation. Our implementation services combine extensive ERP implementation and integration experience with industry best practices, detailed project management and a proven methodology to launch and sustain your new system. If you have any questions or would like help extending or implementing an ERP system, please contact us.

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About Jeff Hiddemen

As Principal, Jeff Hiddemen leads Bridgepoint Consulting’s NetSuite Consulting practice, which helps companies across industries modernize their technology and processes to compete in the digital era. Jeff brings more than 15 years of leadership to Bridgepoint, with experience in systems implementation, accounting, finance, strategy, operations and product management. Over the past 10 years, he has deployed ERP, CRM and eCommerce strategies for clients ranging from enterprise Fortune 100 to startups across a broad range of industries, including SaaS/Software, Manufacturing, Financial Services, Energy, Retail, Government, Human Resource Management, Wholesale/Distribution and Sports/Entertainment. Jeff is also focused on empowering the firm’s team of over 40 NetSuite Consultants with the tools, expertise, best practices and training, to ensure all clients receive best-in-class services and solutions.

He earned an MBA from the University of California at Los Angeles and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from the University of Texas at Austin. Jeff also holds several industry certifications, including NetSuite Certified ERP Consultant, NetSuite SuiteFoundation and NetSuite SuiteSuccess. Learn more about Jeff’s expertise and NetSuite experience in this press release.

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About Robert Harrison

As Director in Bridgepoint’s NetSuite Consulting practice, Rob leads a team of over 40 NetSuite certified consultants and engagement managers who help clients grow through the implementation of transformative business solutions. He is a NetSuite Certified ERP Consultant who brings over 15 years of experience with start-up, mid-market and Fortune 500 companies to Bridgepoint. Rob has advanced skills in the areas of business process development, systems implementation, integration, supply chain management, material requirements planning, and discrete manufacturing. He also has experience leading both ERP selection and implementation projects involving a number of ERP systems, including NetSuite, Oracle, and Sage. He is a graduate of SMU School of Engineering.

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